Thursday, September 27, 2012

South Florida real estate agent: 'Things have definitely picked up'

Home prices, confidence, incomes all rise in Florida and nationally


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Economic optimism overflowed Tuesday as at least three measures of recovery in Florida and nationally showed gains.
Increases in home prices, consumer confidence and personal income were signs, some economists said, of slow, but long-term improvement from the monetary doldrums of the past few years.
Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties saw a 5 percent hike in July housing prices from last year on the respected Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller price index, putting South Florida real estate at a level not seen since the 2009 mini-boom created by the home-buyer tax credit.
All 20 major metropolitan regions measured by the index reported price increases from June while 16 also posted hikes compared with 2011. Analysts singled out South Florida in the housing report.
“Among the cities, Miami and Phoenix are both well off their bottoms with positive monthly gains since the end of 2011,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee. “All in all, we are more optimistic about housing. Upbeat trends continue.”
The housing hopefulness bled into Floridians’ consumer confidence, which rose in September to the highest level in nearly five years. The monthly survey taken by the University of Florida showed people have more positive feelings about personal finances, whether this is a good time to make big purchases, and improving economic conditions over the next year.
Nationally, consumer confidence jumped nine points to a seven-month high as personal income growth slowed but continued an upward climb.
The Commerce Department reported that personal income was up 1 percent nationwide in the second quarter of the year from the beginning of 2012. In Florida, the increase was 1.2 percent during the same period, ranking the Sunshine State fifth for growth behind North Dakota, South Dakota, Arizona and Hawaii.
Economist Tony Villamil, dean of the business school at St. Thomas University in Miami, said consumers see their net worth and spending ability improve as home prices rise and their home equity increases.
“Housing has a significant impact in South Florida,” Villamil said. “It’s a big multiplier in terms of jobs and income, and I think this is a long-term improvement.”
Others were more wary about predicting a full-fledged recovery from Tuesday’s reports.
Anthony Sanders, a George Mason University real estate finance professor, said the home price numbers were taken at the height of the summer buying season and before the so-called “fiscal cliff” — the planned spending reductions in government programs and an end to substantial tax cuts that will go into effect Jan. 1 if not amended by Congress.
“The index may look different come 2013,” he said.
South Florida real estate consultant Jack McCabe also was cautious, calling the home price and consumer confidence numbers “positive, but just barely.”
He’s still concerned about the more than 350,000 foreclosures in Florida’s court system, and an uptick in new foreclosure filings following the National Mortgage Settlement reached in February. Florida was ranked second in the nation for foreclosure activity in August, while Palm Beach County saw an increase in new foreclosure filings of 35 percent from 2011, according to RealtyTrac.
“The news seems good overall. If you just read the headline you feel pretty positive,” McCabe said. “But we have a long way to go.”
South Florida’s home prices on the Case-Shiller index are about 47 percent below what they were at the peak of the market in April 2006. Case-Shiller measures sales compared with January 2000 when the index was set at 100. For each region reviewed, the index provides a three-month moving average price. It does not include condominium sales.
The University of Florida’s consumer confidence index points out that while optimism is up, “several economic conditions serve as a drag to Florida’s recovery.”
Florida’s August unemployment rate was unchanged from the previous month at 8.8 percent. In Palm Beach County, the unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points in August to 9.6 percent, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
“The recovery throughout the state of Florida has been spotty, with the large major metros doing better than the non-metro areas,” said Stan Geberer, senior associate at Fishkind & Associates economic consulting in Orlando. “Housing is still a mixed bag.”

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Housing Starts, Existing Home Sales Both Rose in August


Posted By susanne On September 22, 2012 @ 12:02 am In Consumer News and Advice,Finance and Economy,Real Estate News,Real Estate Trends,Today's Marketplace,Today's Top Story - Consumer |
 [1](MCT)—The rebound in the U.S. housing market accelerated in August as residential construction starts increased 2.3 percent and sales of existing homes rose 7.8 percent, according to new figures released Wednesday.

The National Association of REALTORS® said sales of existing single-family homes, townhouses, condos and co-ops rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million units in August, up from an annual rate of 4.47 million in July. The rate exceeded analysts’ expectations.

The national median sale price was $187,400 in August, up 9.5 percent from a year earlier. It was the biggest year-over-year increase since January 2006, shortly before the housing bubble burst. August marked the sixth straight month of year-over-year price increase, which had not happened since early 2006, the REALTORS® group said.

At the same time, the Commerce Department reported that privately owned housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 750,000, up 2.3 percent from the July rate of 733,000. Although that figure was below analysts’ expectations, it was another indication the real estate sector was bouncing back after apparently hitting bottom.

“The housing market is steadily recovering with consistent increases in both home sales and median prices,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the REALTORS® association. “More buyers are taking advantage of excellent housing affordability conditions.”

The Federal Reserve said last week it would try to support that recovery — and, in turn, drive down the high unemployment rate — by launching another round of bond-buying designed to drive down already historically low mortgage rates.

Although it remains difficult for many people to qualify for a mortgage, the housing market is strengthening because of pent-up demand, Yun says.

©2012 Los Angeles Times
Distributed by MCT Information Services [2]

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

THE TIME IS NOW!


For those of you looking to buy a home or invest in some land, I used to always tell my customers "the best time to buy is when the time is right for you...". But now I'm letting you know, without any reservation, the best time to buy property is now. Prices are rising and they are going to continue to rise, and, while you investors out there wait - the smaller your profit margins will be as our Real Estate recovery moves from being "in recovery" to being recovered. ALL indications are that 2013 will be a great year in terms of price increases as homes values continue to normalize and land values continue to rise. Builders are at a 3 year high in applying for permits and beginning to build more and more homes. Here are 3 excellent news stories out today one of which focuses directly to the Canadian buyer.

I want to work for you as your Realtor. You won't find anyone more professional, tuned into the market or will work harder for you. Just read what some of my past customers have said See My Customer Testimonials.

Call me with any questions, and investors - WAKE UP - buy low & sell high, the time is now.

Kind regards,
Terence Trombetti  Real Estate Agent
Gulf Coast Realty Network • terencetrombetti@gmail.com
p. 239.560.1574  f. 239.540.1206

In Southwest Florida and nationally, builders feel things are looking up
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
In Southwest Florida and nationally, builders feel things are looking up. By ALEX VEIGA AP Real Estate Writer. Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.. Last Modified: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 9:07 p.m.. Confidence among U.S. home ..

Florida home prices bottomed earlier than previously thought, according to one ...
Palm Beach Post
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer. WEST PALM BEACH —. A new home sales measure says Floridaprices hit a soft bottom in 2009, years earlier than what some experts have declared as the low point for real estate. The measure, similar to the respected ...

Recovering US Housing Market Calls for Investment, Canadians Feeling the Heat
Realty Today
Various reports projecting recovery of the U.S. housing market is indeed good news for Americans, who have long been suffering from foreclosures. But for Canadians investing in the U.S. market, realty experts believe that an increased competition in a ...

Cape Coral Summary
Average price per square foot for Cape Coral FL was $86, an increase of 19.4% compared to the same period last year. The median sales price for homes in Cape Coral FL for Jun 12 to Aug 12 was $118,000 based on 961 home sales. Compared to the same period one year ago, the median home sales price increased 21.6%, or $21,000, and the number of home sales decreased 49.6%. There are currently 3,533 resale and new homes in Cape Coral on Trulia, including 6 open houses, as well as 3,506 homes in the pre-foreclosure, auction, or bank-owned stages of the foreclosure process. The average listing price for homes for sale in Cape Coral FL was $259,743 for the week ending Sep 12, which was unchanged compared to the prior week. Popular neighborhoods in Cape Coral include Pelican and Hancock, with average listing prices of $353,029 and $174,950.

The median sales price for homes in Cape Coral FL for Jun 12 to Aug 12 was $118,000. This represents an increase of 1.9%, or $2,150, compared to the prior quarter and an increase of 21.6% compared to the prior year. Sales prices have depreciated 46.4% over the last 5 years in Cape Coral. The average listing price for Cape Coral homes for sale on Trulia was $259,743 for the week ending Sep 12, which represents an increase of 0%, or $104, compared to the prior week and an increase of 2.2%, or $5,511, compared to the week ending Aug 22. Average price per square foot for Cape Coral FL was $86, an increase of 19.4% compared to the same period last year. Popular neighborhoods in Cape Coral include Pelican, Hancock, Caloosahatchee, Mariner, Burnt Store, and Diplomat.

Florida Realtors are Happy to Report a Rising Housing Market in August


(SOURCE Florida Realtors) — Florida’s housing market had more closed sales, more pending sales, higher median prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale in August, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.
“Florida’s housing marketing continues its momentum,” said 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. “Buyers who have been waiting on the sidelines should see this as a sign to jump in before the market escapes them again. Sellers who have been hesitant to sell should put their homes on the market now. Chances are they will entertain multiple offers and be able to take advantage of historically low interest rates to buy their next home. Now our biggest challenge will be appraisals keeping up with the pace of this market.”
Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 18,669 in August, up 10.8 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
Meanwhile, pending sales – contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed – of existing single-family homes last month rose 40.2 percent over the previous August. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in August was $147,000, up 5.8 percent from a year ago.
According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in July 2012 was $188,100, up 9.6 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in July was $333,860; in Massachusetts, it was $325,000; in Maryland, it was $261,772; and in New York, it was $233,000.
The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. Housing industry analysts note that sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes.
Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhomes/condos, a total of 8,767 units sold statewide last month, up 5.7 percent from those sold in August 2011. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $102,980, up 13.2 percent over the previous year. NAR reported the national median existing condo price in July 2012 was $180,700.
Last month, the inventory for single-family homes in August stood at a 5.3-months’ supply; inventory for townhome-condo properties was also at a 5.3-months’ supply, according to Florida Realtors. Industry analysts note that a 5.5-months’ supply represents a market balanced between buyers and sellers.
“Florida’s housing market is still reviving,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Everything that should be going up is going up, and everything that should be going down is going down. After the six years of turmoil that we had, it’s good to see the trends strongly moving in the right direction. We’re hurting for inventory, but it’s possible that the improving conditions will lure more sellers into the market and mitigate the housing inventory crunch.”
The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.60 percent in August 2012, lower than the 4.27 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.
To see the full statewide housing activity report, go to Florida Realtors Media Center at http://media.floridarealtors.org/ and look under Latest Releases, or download the August 2012 data report PDF under Market Data at: http://media.floridarealtors.org/market-data
Editor’s Note: Florida Realtors 2012 housing market data releases mark a new statewide data reporting partnership between Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and new vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. Housing sales data from the state’s local Realtor organizations is collected and organized with the goal of providing unique, localized market reports to the local Realtor boards and associations within Florida Realtors, enabling the groups and their Realtor members to serve as the definitive voice of real estate in their respective local markets. At the same time, Florida Realtors is providing comprehensive statewide housing market statistics – but this new data series only refers to statewide data and does not include metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs).
Florida Realtors®, formerly known as the Florida Association of Realtors®, serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 115,000 members in 63 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.
SOURCE Florida Realtors

Friday, September 14, 2012

Investors cash-in on land deals as U.S. housing picks up

(Reuters) - From the outskirts of Las Vegas to the coast of California, stretches of undeveloped land in some of the most depressed housing markets in the U.S. are in high demand.
Workers prepare a plot of land in Las Vegas in May, 2012. REUTERS/Katya Wachtel
Money managers such as BlackRock Inc, hedge fund Angelo Gordon & Co and real estate investment firm Starwood Capital, are beginning to cash-in on so-called shovel-ready residential land-tracts with most of the pre-construction and zoning approvals already in place.
The investors snapped up land on the cheap in bankruptcy proceedings, from cash-strapped home developers and banks that seized the properties after foreclosing on them when builders ran out of money.

Now they are re-selling the land, often for returns of more than 20 percent on their initial investment, in the latest sign of a modest recovery in the U.S. housing market. Other investors, meanwhile, are looking to partner with homebuilders to develop the tracts.

Some, like Paulson & Co, which has also been active in the space, will hold onto the land for sometime before re-selling it to buyers.

"We are coming out of the mother of all housing cycles, and residential land is the best way to play the ultimate recovery," said Michael Barr, a Paulson & Co portfolio manager, who oversees the Paulson Real Estate Recovery fund, which has under $500 million in assets for the $19.5 billion hedge fund. "Land is the highest returning component of the home building equation."

Single-family home sales in the U.S. rose 3.6 percent in July, matching a two-year high achieved in April. In July, applications for building permits hit the highest level since August 2008.

Foreclosures are also slowing in many regions. And, the market for existing single-family home rentals has gotten so hot that institutional investors are racing to raise money to buy foreclosed homes from the nation's banks and then rent them out.

But shovel-ready land is a potentially more lucrative way to bet on a housing recovery - though investors may require a good deal of patience because it could take several years for developers to build new homes in some of the areas hit hardest during the financial crisis.

"These returns are back-end loaded, and more of an opportunistic, higher risk strategy," said Dale Gruen, a senior portfolio manager for BlackRock Real Estate, which has raised a fund that invests in such lots. "Single family rental is one in which returns are a more moderate."

Land that already has all the planning permissions required to begin construction is seen as a better bet than sites without all the boxes ticked because the process of gaining those approvals from local, state and federal agencies can take years, and is also a costly procedure.

Investors and real estate analysts do caution that a full-blown housing recovery is still some time off.

"The housing market is getting better but we're not quite there yet," said Stephen Malpezzi, an economist at housing data company Zillow and a professor at the University of Wisconsin's Department of Real Estate and Urban Land Economics. "We all get excited when we see a few months of positive numbers, but we are still in the middle" of a fragile period for the housing sector, he said.

Still, Paulson's Barr says it is only a matter of time before the market fully ripens. "We think there is going to be a land shortage coming out of the downturn."

The Paulson real estate fund, which launched in 2010 and required investors to lock-up their money for 10 years, currently owns about 25,000 home sites in Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and California, all of which were acquired through some form of distressed sale.

Recently, Paulson, whose flagship fund has struggled mightily in the past two years, scooped up 875 acres of land in a resort development called Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada, for $17 million. Located about 30 miles from Las Vegas, the resort developer filed for bankruptcy in 2008. The acquisition adds about 3,500 home sites to Paulson's real estate portfolio.

DIRT-CHEAP DIRT

The Paulson fund, whose founder John Paulson rose to fame and fortune by betting on the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, got into this market in 2010. Hillwood Development and Starwood got into the market even earlier. But new entrants are joining the hunt all the time given the ability to still buy land with development approval for as little as 30 cents on the dollar.

For instance, McRae Group of Companies, a Scottsdale Arizona-based real estate firm is pitching potential investors on a fund that will invest in such land projects in the Phoenix metro area, according to a marketing brochure.

BlackRock, which manages $3.56 trillion in assets, raised $120 million for a fund that invests in shovel-ready properties, buying up land in the San Francisco area, Orange County, Calif., West Palm Beach, Fla. and northern Virginia.

The fund, which finished making investments in June, is now in the process of selling assets back to homebuilders. A person familiar with the fund said the typical return on these types of properties ranges from 20 percent to 35 percent, depending on the strategy and market. Blackrock's Gruen declined to comment on future investments, but a person familiar with the situation said the firm is considering raising money for a new fund.

There is a rebound in the market for shovel-ready land in the Las Vegas region, said Laus Abdo, executive director of Las Vegas-based TriArchic Advisors, a real estate investment and advisory firm. "Prices have gone from $20,000 a finished lot 18 months ago, to $30,000 - $45,000 per lot today in places like Las Vegas," Abdo said.

Ross Perot Jr's Dallas-based investment firm, Hillwood Development, is one early buyer of land now cashing in on its bet thanks to signs of a revival in housing markets in Nevada, California, Texas and Florida. During the recession, Hillwood bought shovel-ready land from cash strapped home builders.

In one instance, the firm purchased a portfolio of 8,700 undeveloped home lots in 2008, which has on average tripled in value.

Fred Balda, the president of Hillwood Communities, said its assets in Las Vegas have proven to be particularly profitable.

Balda said that the strategy overall has been "extremely successful", but some portfolios, such as those containing land in Reno, Nevada, are still struggling, highlighting the local nature of the U.S. housing market and the uneven nature of the recovery.

Still, many national home builders are flexing their muscles again. Jeffrey Metzger, CEO of KB Home, said in June that the company is "aggressively reinvesting in new land assets and communities." Similarly, Lennar said it spent $287 million on land and land development in the second quarter, up 74 percent from a year earlier.

The proof of that new building activity can be seen on the ground in places like Las Vegas as well.

Earlier this year, driving through new residential real estate developments in North-West Las Vegas in May, TriArchic's Abdo pointed to rows of shiny new signs of all the major U.S. homebuilders, from Lennar to Beazer Homes and DR Horton. It's evidence, he said, of a housing recovery starting to get its legs.

"The engine is cranking back up here in Vegas," Abdo said.

(Reporting By Katya Wachtel; editing by Matthew Goldstein, Jennifer Ablan, Martin Howell and Bernard Orr)

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Impending Florida Retail Boom


Florida is leading the nation in a retail recovery. Miami is particularly strong for retailers. But we ain't seen nothing yet.
Indeed, if that’s true now—and if retail truly does follow rooftops—imagine what will happen as the next wave ofmultifamily and condo development comes online over the next few years. I call it the impending Florida retail boom.
In the last couple of weeks alone, I’ve reported about aWalmart Neighborhood Market-anchored shopping center trading for a healthy $11 million in Largo, 530 Lincoln Roadhitting the market in South Beach, several triple net deals trading, and Jones Lang LaSalle bringing three retail heavy-hitters to market.
Meanwhile, also in the last couple of weeks, I’ve reported onNovare-Batson building a $63 million multifamily tower in Downtown Orlando, Lynd and LNR buying rights to a Brickellmultifamily site, a vacant mobile home park getting scooped up for a multifamily development and other deals.
Investors are clearly jockeying for retail assets as the market starts heating up in Florida. The Florida market won’t reach fever status until these condos and multifamily projects—of which there are many more than I’ve mentioned—start attracting the masses. But signs of the impending Floridaretail boom are already evident.
Miami has added about 7,000 jobs so far this year, according to JLL’s Mid-Year Retail Outlook. At the same time, Miami’s vacancy has decreased 40 basis points year-over-year. Right now, smaller lease deals are getting done, but there are a few noteworthy leases, like the BrandsMart in Kendall, Nordstrom Rack in Coral Way, Kendall and Loehmann’s. Andretail rents in Miami are surging, posting 7% gains year-over-year.
A quick look at other Florida retail markets also offers signs of new life. In Broward County, retail market vacancy declined 80 basis points year-over-year and 10 basis points in the last quarter, JLL reports, and Palm Beach County’s vacancy rate fell 30 basis points year-over-year.
The Orlando retail market’s vacancy rate fell 30 basis points to 7.1% year-over-year. Retail sales have been strong and demand is growing, according to JLL. And Tampa has witnessed retail vacancy rates decline 70 basis points year-over-year, with power centers outperforming other retailsubtypes with a whopping 300-basis-point decline in the last year. Tampa has also seen national tenants like Walmart, Bealls, and HomeGoods expanding.
So, again, I see an impending retail boom. It’s coming. Right now, the retail is following recovering economic trends. But as the retail starts to follow the thousands of new rooftops coming to market over the next few years, it will set off the next cycle of retail development.

Friday, September 7, 2012

 
 
 
 
LinkedIn TodayLinkedIn TODAYThe week's top news, tailored for you
 
 
 
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Here’s More Evidence That Home Prices Have Hit Bottom
 
 
blogs.wsj.com - In each of the last three years, home prices have increased in the spring and summer, when more people are buying homes, before giving back all of those gains and then some in the fall and winter. But it is beginning to look...
 
 
 
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bizjournals.com - Don't be surprised if you hear your real estate agent and mortgage lender suddenly belt out a rendition of "Happy Days are Here Again."
 
 
 
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